Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

Philippines: at least three dead in a bomb attack during a mass

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The explosion occurred during a Catholic mass in the gymnasium of Mindanao State University in Marawi.

Agence France-Presse

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At least three people were killed and seven others injured in a bomb attack on Sunday during a Catholic mass in the southern Philippines, a region troubled by an insurgency, authorities said.

The explosion occurred during a mass in the gymnasium of Mindanao State University in Marawi, the country's largest Muslim city, the regional police chief said , Allan Nobleza.

We are investigating to determine whether this is an improvised explosive device or an explosive device. a grenade, Mr. Nobleza said.

Mindanao State University issued a statement condemning the act of violence, while suspending classes and deploying more security personnel to the campus.

We stand in solidarity with our Christian community and all those affected by this tragedy, the university said in a statement.

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Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra urged members of the Muslim and Christian communities to stay united.

Our city has long been a symbol of peaceful coexistence and harmony, and we will not allow such acts of violence to overshadow our collective commitment to peace and unity, Gandamra said. .

Photos posted on the Lanao del Sur provincial government's Facebook page show Governor Mamintal Adiong visiting victims injured in the attack bomb in a medical facility.

The attack came after a Philippine military airstrike on Friday killed 11 Islamist militants from the Dawlah Islamiya-Philippine organization in Mindanao.

Mr. Nobleza said police were investigating whether Sunday's attack was linked to the military operation.

The army said on Saturday that the Islamist organization had planned to stage attacks in the province of Maguindanao del Sur.

Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Sur are part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Militant attacks on buses, Catholic churches and public markets are a feature of the decades-long unrest in the region.

In 2014, Manila signed a peace pact with the country's largest rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front, ending their bloody armed insurgency.

But there remain small bands of Muslim insurgents opposed to the peace deal, including militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group. Communist rebels also operate in the region.

In May 2017, hundreds of foreign and local pro-IS gunmen moved into the area. were seizing Marawi.

The Philippine army recaptured the ruined city after a five-month battle that claimed the lives of more than #x27;a thousand people.

Another line of investigation seeks to find out whether remnants of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Islamist groups, who participated in the siege of Marawi, are involved, Mr. Nobleza said.

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